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Who is the 'Devil'? And what is he due? The Devil is anyone who disagrees with you. And what he is due is the right to speak his mind. He must have this for your own safety's sake because his freedom is inextricably tied to your own. If he can be censored, why shouldn't you be censored? If we put barriers up to silence 'unpleasant' ideas, what's to stop the silencing of any discussion? This book is a full-throated defense of free speech and open inquiry in politics, science, and culture by the New York Times bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer. The new collection of essays and articles takes the Devil by the horns by tackling five key themes: free thought and free speech, politics and society, scientific humanism, religion, and the ideas of controversial intellectuals. For our own sake, we must give the Devil his due.
"Fascinating and exhilarating-Sean B. Carroll at his very best."-Bill Bryson, author of The Body: A Guide for Occupants From acclaimed writer and biologist Sean B. Carroll, a rollicking, awe-inspiring story of the surprising power of chance in our lives and the world Why is the world the way it is? How did we get here? Does everything happen for a reason or are some things left to chance? Philosophers and theologians have pondered these questions for millennia, but startling scientific discoveries over the past half century are revealing that we live in a world driven by chance. A Series of Fortunate Events tells the story of the awesome power of chance and how it is the surprising source of all the beauty and diversity in the living world. Like every other species, we humans are here by accident. But it is shocking just how many things-any of which might never have occurred-had to happen in certain ways for any of us to exist. From an extremely improbable asteroid impact, to the wild gyrations of the Ice Age, to invisible accidents in our parents' gonads, we are all here through an astonishing series of fortunate events. And chance continues to reign every day over the razor-thin line between our life and death. This is a relatively small book about a really big idea. It is also a spirited tale. Drawing inspiration from Monty Python, Kurt Vonnegut, and other great thinkers, and crafted by one of today's most accomplished science storytellers, A Series of Fortunate Events is an irresistibly entertaining and thought-provoking account of one of the most important but least appreciated facts of life.
This complete edition of Newton's optical papers contains two volumes: the first details his Optical Lectures, delivered at Cambridge University between 1670 and 1672, while the second documents the evolution of the Opticks, the most influential optical and experimental work of the eighteenth century. The Lectures is Newton's first major scientific treatise, and represents a crucial link between his early years of discovery and his mature publications. The complete text of both surviving versions of the Lectures, an early version and a vastly expanded revision, is included here, together with translation and commentary. The second volume opens with the first edition of the Opticks (1704) and the first draft in Latin. The manuscripts of the queries that Newton added to the Latin translation in 1706 and the second English edition (1717) follow this, accompanied by shorter manuscripts, copious notes and commentary. This is an essential resource for the study of Newtonian science.
The classic case for why government must support science-with a new essay by physicist and former congressman Rush Holt on what democracy needs from science today Science, the Endless Frontier is recognized as the landmark argument for the essential role of science in society and government's responsibility to support scientific endeavors. First issued when Vannevar Bush was the director of the US Office of Scientific Research and Development during the Second World War, this classic remains vital in making the case that scientific progress is necessary to a nation's health, security, and prosperity. Bush's vision set the course for US science policy for more than half a century, building the world's most productive scientific enterprise. Today, amid a changing funding landscape and challenges to science's very credibility, Science, the Endless Frontier resonates as a powerful reminder that scientific progress and public well-being alike depend on the successful symbiosis between science and government. This timely new edition presents this iconic text alongside a new companion essay from scientist and former congressman Rush Holt, who offers a brief introduction and consideration of what society needs most from science now. Reflecting on the report's legacy and relevance along with its limitations, Holt contends that the public's ability to cope with today's issues-such as public health, the changing climate and environment, and challenging technologies in modern society-requires a more capacious understanding of what science can contribute. Holt considers how scientists should think of their obligation to society and what the public should demand from science, and he calls for a renewed understanding of science's value for democracy and society at large. A touchstone for concerned citizens, scientists, and policymakers, Science, the Endless Frontier endures as a passionate articulation of the power and potential of science.
A leading expert on public bioethics advocates for a new conception of human identity in American law and policy. The natural limits of the human body make us vulnerable and therefore dependent, throughout our lives, on others. Yet American law and policy disregard these stubborn facts, with statutes and judicial decisions that presume people to be autonomous, defined by their capacity to choose. As legal scholar O. Carter Snead points out, this individualistic ideology captures important truths about human freedom, but it also means that we have no obligations to each other unless we actively, voluntarily embrace them. Under such circumstances, the neediest must rely on charitable care. When it is not forthcoming, law and policy cannot adequately respond. What It Means to Be Human makes the case for a new paradigm, one that better represents the gifts and challenges of being human. Inspired by the insights of Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor, Snead proposes a vision of human identity and flourishing that supports those who are profoundly vulnerable and dependent-children, the disabled, and the elderly. To show how such a vision would affect law and policy, he addresses three complex issues in bioethics: abortion, assisted reproductive technology, and end-of-life decisions. Avoiding typical dichotomies of conservative-versus-liberal and secular-versus-religious, Snead recasts debates over these issues and situates them within his framework of embodiment and dependence. He concludes that, if the law is built on premises that reflect the fully lived reality of life, it will provide support for the vulnerable, including the unborn, mothers, families, and those nearing the end of their lives. In this way, he argues, policy can ensure that people have the care they need in order to thrive. In this provocative and consequential book, Snead rethinks how the law represents human experiences so that it might govern more wisely, justly, and humanely.
Martin Harwit, author of the influential book Cosmic Discovery, asks key questions about the scope of observational astronomy. Humans have long sought to understand the world we inhabit. Recent realization of how our unruly Universe distorts information before it ever reaches us reveals distinct limits on how well we will ultimately understand the Cosmos. Even the best instruments we might conceive will inevitably be thwarted by ever more complex distortions and will never untangle the data completely. Observational astronomy, and the cost of pursuing it, will then have reached an inherent end. Only some totally different lines of approach, as yet unknown and potentially far more costly, might then need to emerge if we wish to learn more. This accessible book is written for all astronomers, astrophysicists, and those curious about how well we will ever understand the Universe and the potential costs of pushing those limits.
What if there were a pill for love? Or an anti-love drug, designed to help us break up? This controversial and timely new book argues that recent medical advances have brought chemical control of our romantic lives well within our grasp. Substances affecting love and relationships, whether prescribed by doctors or even illicitly administered, are not some far-off speculation - indeed our most intimate connections are already being influenced by pills we take for other purposes, such as antidepressants. Treatments involving certain psychoactive substances, including MDMA-the active ingredient in Ecstasy-might soon exist to encourage feelings of love and help ordinary couples work through relationship difficulties. Others may ease a breakup or soothe feelings of rejection. Such substances could have transformative implications for how we think about and experience love. This brilliant intervention into the debate builds a case for conducting further research into "love drugs" and "anti-love drugs" and explores their ethical implications for individuals and society. Rich in anecdotal evidence and case-studies, the book offers a highly readable insight into a cutting-edge field of medical research that could have profound effects on us all. Will relationships be the same in the future? Will we still marry? It may be up to you to decide whether you want a chemical romance. -- .
Developmental biology is seemingly well understood, with development widely accepted as being a series of programmed changes through which an egg turns into an adult organism, or a seed matures into a plant. However, the picture is much more complex than that: is it all genetically controlled or does environment have an influence? Is the final adult stage the target of development and everything else just a build-up to that point? Are developmental strategies the same in plants as in animals? How do we consider development in single-celled organisms? In this concise, engaging volume, Alessandro Minelli, a leading developmental biologist, addresses these key questions. Using familiar examples and easy-to-follow arguments, he offers fresh alternatives to a number of preconceptions and stereotypes, awakening the reader to the disparity of developmental phenomena across all main branches of the tree of life.
Quantum physicist, New York Times bestselling author, and BBC host Jim Al-Khalili offers a fascinating and illuminating look at what physics reveals about the world Shining a light on the most profound insights revealed by modern physics, Jim Al-Khalili invites us all to understand what this crucially important science tells us about the universe and the nature of reality itself. Al-Khalili begins by introducing the fundamental concepts of space, time, energy, and matter, and then describes the three pillars of modern physics-quantum theory, relativity, and thermodynamics-showing how all three must come together if we are ever to have a full understanding of reality. Using wonderful examples and thought-provoking analogies, Al-Khalili illuminates the physics of the extreme cosmic and quantum scales, the speculative frontiers of the field, and the physics that underpins our everyday experiences and technologies, bringing the reader up to speed with the biggest ideas in physics in just a few sittings. Physics is revealed as an intrepid human quest for ever more foundational principles that accurately explain the natural world we see around us, an undertaking guided by core values such as honesty and doubt. The knowledge discovered by physics both empowers and humbles us, and still, physics continues to delve valiantly into the unknown. Making even the most enigmatic scientific ideas accessible and captivating, this deeply insightful book illuminates why physics matters to everyone and calls one and all to share in the profound adventure of seeking truth in the world around us.
Progress Unchained reinterprets the history of the idea of progress using parallels between evolutionary biology and changing views of human history. Early concepts of progress in both areas saw it as the ascent of a linear scale of development toward a final goal. The 'chain of being' defined a hierarchy of living things with humans at the head, while social thinkers interpreted history as a development toward a final paradise or utopia. Darwinism reconfigured biological progress as a 'tree of life' with multiple lines of advance not necessarily leading to humans, each driven by the rare innovations that generate entirely new functions. Popular writers such as H. G. Wells used a similar model to depict human progress, with competing technological innovations producing ever-more rapid changes in society. Bowler shows that as the idea of progress has become open-ended and unpredictable, a variety of alternative futures have been imagined.
The large-scale structure of the Universe is dominated by vast voids with galaxies clustered in knots, sheets, and filaments, forming a great 'cosmic web'. In this personal account of the major astronomical developments leading to this discovery, we learn from Laird A. Thompson, a key protagonist, how the first 3D maps of galaxies were created. Using non-mathematical language, he introduces the standard model of cosmology before explaining how and why ideas about cosmic voids evolved, referencing the original maps, reproduced here. His account tells of the competing teams of observers, racing to publish their results, the theorists trying to build or update their models to explain them, and the subsequent large-scale survey efforts that continue to the present day. This is a well-documented account of the birth of a major pillar of modern cosmology, and a useful case study of the trials surrounding how this scientific discovery became accepted.
Seed magazine brings together a unique gathering of prominent scientists, artists, novelists, philosophers + other thinkers who are tearing down the wall between science + culture.
We are on the cusp of a twenty-first-century scientific renaissance. Science is driving our culture and conversation unlike ever before, transforming the social, political, economic, aesthetic, and intellectual landscape of our time. Today, science is culture. As global issues--like energy and health--become increasingly interconnected, and as our curiosities--like how the mind works or why the universe is expanding--become more complex, we need a new way of looking at the world that blurs the lines between scientific disciplines and the borders between the sciences and the arts and humanities. In this spirit, the award-winning science magazine Seed has paired scientists with nonscientists to explore ideas of common interest to us all. This book is the result of these illuminating Seed Salon conversations, edited and with an introduction by Seedfounder and editor in chief Adam Bly. Science Is Culture includes:
E. O. Wilson + Daniel C. Dennet
Steven Pinker + Rebecca Goldstein
Noam Chomsky + Robert Trivers
David Byrne + Daniel Levitin
Jonathan Lethem + Janna Levin
Benoit Mandelbrot + Paola Antonelli
Lisa Randall + Chuck Hoberman
Michel Gondry + Robert Stickgold
Alan Lightman + Richard Colton
Laurie David + Stephen Schneider
Tom Wolfe + Michael Gazzaniga
Marc Hauser + Errol Morris
If the laws of nature are fine-tuned for life, can we infer other universes with different laws? How could we even test such a theory without empirical access to those distant places? Can we believe in the multiverse of the Everett interpretation of quantum theory or in the reality of other possible worlds, as advocated by philosopher David Lewis? At the intersection of physics and philosophy of science, this book outlines the philosophical challenge to theoretical physics in a measured, well-grounded manner. The origin of multiverse theories are explored within the context of the fine-tuning problem and a systematic comparison between the various different multiverse models are included. Cosmologists, high energy physicists, and philosophers including graduate students and researchers will find a systematic exploration of such questions in this important book.
Originally published in 1983.This volume outlines some of the important innovations in astronomy, natural philosophy and medicine which took place in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and shows how the transformation in world-view during the period was affected by broader historical terms. Themes such as the spread of Puritanism, the decline of witchcraft and magic, and the incorporation of science as an integral part of the intellectual milieu of late seventeenth-century England.
Originally published in 1957. This book is concerned with the conflict between "Darwinism" as the Victorians called it, and Christianity, a conflict here re-stated in modern terms because it so vitally affects our understanding of human nature and human values today. The opening chapter describes the historical background. There is a short account of evolution and the argument over Genesis. The importance of natural selection is stressed, and rival theories as to the means of animal evolution are criticised. Discussions follow on whether the course of evolution has been random or determined, on the argument from design, death in nature, the biologist's methods and the difficulties in evolutionary ethics.
Dr Francis S. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, is one of the world's leading scientists, working at the cutting edge of the study of DNA, the code of life. Yet he is also a man of unshakable faith in God. How does he reconcile the seemingly unreconcilable? In THE LANGUAGE OF GOD he explains his own journey from atheism to faith, and then takes the reader on a stunning tour of modern science to show that physics, chemistry and biology -- indeed, reason itself -- are not incompatible with belief. His book is essential reading for anyone who wonders about the deepest questions of all: why are we here? How did we get here? And what does life mean?
It seems quite natural to explain the activities of human and non-human animals by referring to their special faculties. Thus, we say that dogs can smell things in their environment because they have perceptual faculties, or that human beings can think because they have rational faculties. But what are faculties? In what sense are they responsible for a wide range of activities? How can they be individuated? How are they interrelated? And why are different types of faculties assigned to different types of living beings? The six chapters in this book discuss these questions, covering a wide period from Plato up to contemporary debates about faculties as modules of the mind. They show that faculties were referred to in different theoretical contexts, but analyzed in radically different ways. Some philosophers, especially Aristotelians, made them the cornerstone of their biological and psychological theories, taking them to be basic powers of living beings. Others took them to be inner causes that literally produce activities, while still others provided a purely functional explanation. The chapters focus on various models, taking into account Greek, Arabic, Latin, French, German and Anglo-American debates. They analyze the role assigned to faculties in metaphysics, philosophy of mind and epistemology, but also the attack that was often launched against the assumption that faculties are hidden yet real features of living beings. The short "Reflections" inserted between the chapters make clear that faculties were also widely discussed in literature, science and medicine.
Steve Fuller has a reputation for setting the terms of debate
within science and technology studies. In his latest book, New
Frontiers in Science and Technology Studies he charts the debates
likely to be of relevance in the coming years.
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